With the World Series now underway—and considering that I already wrote an Arizona Fall League recap earlier today—I thought that I’d offer a few predictions regarding prospects in the Fall Classic.
More specifically, I thought that I’d speculate on which top prospects have the potential to one day be the MVP of the World Series. To narrow my focus, I only considered players from teams that reached the 2012 postseason.
And here’s what I came up with.
The best pure hitter in the minor leagues, Oscar Taveras, 20, posted a .953 OPS with 56/42 K/BB at Double-A this past season in 124 games. A left-handed hitter with bat control and hand-eye coordination unlike any other prospect, he has improved across the board against advanced competition.
He’s such an impressive player that it would be surprising if he doesn’t reach the major leagues during the 2013 season—a debut before his 21st birthday (June 19) is even a possibility. Upon reaching St. Louis, Taveras presumably will bat in the middle of an already-loaded lineup with the potential to be a big-time run producer.
Like Taveras, Jurickson Profar thrived this past season as a 19-year-old in Double-A. Everything the shortstop does on the field is electric, and there’s still room to improve. A switch-hitter with the ability to hit for average and power from both sides of the plate, Profar batted .281/.368/.452 with 47 extra-base hits, 16 stolen bases and 79/66 K/BB in 126 games, and, as usual, was excellent defensively.
He was ultimately promoted from Double-A to the major leagues in September and posted a .647 OPS in 17 at-bats. With a flair for the dramatic, Profar launched a no-doubt home run in his first big league at-bat, and singled as a pinch-hitter in the American League wild-card play-in game.
Although there’s no place for him on the Rangers’ infield until at least the 2014 season, it’s already clear how much the organization values the 19-year-old considering the aggressive late-season promotion, and it’s difficult to see him not factoring into their 2013 plan.
After stealing 103 bases in 2011, Billy Hamilton broke the professional stolen base record this past season with 155 in 132 games. Oh yeah, the switch-hitter also scored 112 runs and posted an .830 OPS in his age-21 season. Splitting the year between High- and Double-A, he emerged as the most dynamic leadoff hitter in the minors thanks to an improved approach and contact rate.
A shortstop since entering the Reds’ system in 2009, the organization is finally moving him off the position (to center field), which may accelerate his arrival in the major leagues.
In a seven-game series, it’s hard to quantify Hamilton’s potential impact; his blazing speed is as much a weapon as it is rare.
Easily the best pure hitter in the 2011 draft class, Anthony Rendon’s career has gotten off to a slow start as he suffered an ankle fracture in his second game of the year for High-A Potomac. The injury was his third serious ankle injury in as many years.
Even though he returned in July and played in 41 games while reaching Double-A, it was still disappointing considering that Rendon entered the season with an outside chance of reaching the major leagues.
A 6’, 195-pound right-handed hitter, Rendon has outstanding bat speed and plate discipline that should allow him to hit for both average and power in the major leagues. If he’s healthy to begin the 2013 season, it shouldn’t take long for the 22-year-old to reach the Show.
In addition to already owning a spot on the team’s 40-man roster, the Nationals are considering using him at first, second and third base.